For the stars of heaven
This and what follows are to be understood, not literally, but figuratively, as expressive of the dismalness and gloominess of the dispensation, of the horror and terror of it, in which there was no light, no comfort, no relief, nor any hope of any; the heavens and all the celestial bodies frowning upon them, declaring the displeasure of him that dwells there: and the constellations thereof shall not give their light;
which are assemblages of stars, or certain configurations of the heavenly bodies, devised by the ancients; to which each of the names are given for the help of the imagination and memory; the number of them are forty eight, twelve in the Zodiac, twenty one on the northern side of it, and fifteen on the southern. R. Jonah, mentioned both by Aben Ezra and Kimchi, says that "Cesil", the word here used, is a large star, called in the Arabic language "Suel", and the stars that are joined unto it are called by its name "Cesilim"; so that, according to this, only one constellation is meant; and Aben Ezra observes, that there are some that say that Cesil is a star near to the south pole, on which, if camels look, they die; but, says he, in my opinion it is "the scorpion's heart". Jerom's Hebrew master interpreted it to him Arcturus; and it is in ( Job 9:9 ) ( 38:31 ) ( Amos 5:8 ) rendered Orion, and by the Septuagint here; which is one of the constellations, and one of the brightest; and the word being here in the plural number, the sense may be, were there ever so many Orions in the heavens, they should none of them give light. The Targum and Jarchi interpret it of the planets: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth;
as soon as it rises, when it goes forth out of its chamber, as in ( Psalms 19:5 ) either by an eclipse of it, or by dark clouds covering it: and the moon shall not cause her light to shine:
by night, which she borrows from the sun; so that it would be very uncomfortable, day and night, neither sun, moon, nor stars appearing, see ( Acts 27:20 ) by the sun, moon, and stars, may be meant king, queen, and nobles, whose destruction is here prophesied of; it being usual in prophetic language, as well as in other writers F6, to express great personages hereby.
F6 "Solem Asiae Brutum appellat, stellasque salubres appellat comites", Hor. Serm. 1. Satyr. 7.