In their streets they shall girt themselves with sackcloth,
&c.] Instead of their fine clothes, with which they had used to deck themselves, being a very proud people; see ( Isaiah 16:6 ) this was usual in times of distress on any account, as well as a token of mourning for the dead; see ( Joel 1:8 Joel 1:13 ) . The word for "streets" might be rendered "villages", as distinct from cities, that were "without" the walls of the cities, though adjacent to them; and the rather, seeing mention is made of streets afterwards: on the tops of their houses;
which were made flat, as the houses of the Jews were, on which were battlements, ( Deuteronomy 22:8 ) hither they went for safety from their enemies, or to see if they could spy the enemy, or any that could assist them, and deliver them; or rather, hither they went for devotion, to pray to their gods for help; for here it was usual to have altars erected, to burn incense on to their deities; see ( 2 Kings 23:12 ) ( Jeremiah 19:13 ) ( Zephaniah 1:5 ) and in such places the people of God were wont to pray, ( Acts 10:9 ) : and in their streets;
publicly, as well as privately, where they ran up and down to get from the enemy, and save themselves: everyone shall howl, weeping abundantly:
or, "descending with weeping": the tears running down his cheeks in great abundance, so that his whole body was as it were watered with them; or the meaning may be, that everyone that went up to the temples of the idols, and to the high places, ( Isaiah 15:2 ) or to the roofs of the houses, as here, to pray the assistance of their gods, should come down weeping and howling, having no success.