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Isaiah 13:8

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

And they shall be afraid "And they shall be terrified" - I join this verb, ונבהלו venibhalu, to the preceding verse, with the Syriac and Vulgate.

Pangs and sorrows shall take hold on them "Pangs shall seize them" - The Septuagint, Syriac, and Chaldee read יאחזום yochezum, instead of יאחזון yochezun, which does not express the pronoun then, necessary to the sense.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

They shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth - This comparison is often used in the Scriptures to denote the deepest possible pain and sorrow, as well as the suddenness with which any calamity comes upon a people Psalm 48:6; Isaiah 21:3; Isaiah 42:14; Jeremiah 6:24; Jeremiah 13:21; Jeremiah 22:23; Jeremiah 49:24; Jeremiah 50:43; Hosea 13:13; Micah 4:9-10; John 16:21; Galatians 4:19; 1 Thessalonians 5:3.

They shall be amazed one at another - They shall stare with a stupid gaze on one another, indicating a state of great distress, anxiety, and alarm. They shall look to each other for aid, and shall meet in the countenances of others the same expressions of wonder and consternation.

Their faces shall be as flames - Their faces shall glow or burn like fire. When grief and anguish come upon us, the face becomes inflamed. The face in fear is usually pale. But the idea here is not so much that of fear as of anguish; and, perhaps, there is mingled also here the idea of indignation against their invaders.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
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.
Ellen G. White
Patriarchs and Prophets, 340

Never since man was created had there been witnessed such a manifestation of divine power as when the law was proclaimed from Sinai. “The earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the presence of God: even Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel.” Psalm 68:8. Amid the most terrific convulsions of nature the voice of God, like a trumpet, was heard from the cloud. The mountain was shaken from base to summit, and the hosts of Israel, pale and trembling with terror, lay upon their faces upon the earth. He whose voice then shook the earth has declared, “Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.” Hebrews 12:26. Says the Scripture, “The Lord shall roar from on high, and utter His voice from His holy habitation;” “and the heavens and the earth shall shake.” Jeremiah 25:30; Joel 3:16. In that great coming day, the heaven itself shall depart “as a scroll when it is rolled together.” Revelation 6:14. And every mountain and island shall be moved out of its place. “The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again.” Isaiah 24:20. PP 340.1

“Therefore shall all hands be faint,” all faces shall be “turned into paleness,” “and every man's heart shall melt. And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them.” “And I will punish the world for their evil,” saith the Lord, “and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.” Isaiah 13:7, 8, 11; Jeremiah 30:6. PP 340.2

When Moses came from the divine Presence in the mount, where he had received the tables of the testimony, guilty Israel could not endure the light that glorified his countenance. How much less can transgressors look upon the Son of God when He shall appear in the glory of His Father, surrounded by all the heavenly host, to execute judgment upon the transgressors of His law and the rejecters of His atonement. Those who have disregarded the law of God and trodden under foot the blood of Christ, “the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men,” shall hide themselves “in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains,” and they shall say to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” Revelation 6:15-17. “In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, ... to the moles and to the bats; to go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth.” Isaiah 2:20, 21. PP 340.3

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